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Education Honours College

Tjalle Broeksma

Tjalle Broeksma
Tjalle Broeksma

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Tjalle Broeksma, and I’m 20 years old. I’m originally from this small town called Ruinen, approximately an hour south of Groningen, which is also where I spent most of my time the past year and a half during the age of online classes. Technically, I just finished my second year of communication information studies. Besides that, the second year of the Honours bachelor programme. Well, actually there's a summer school as well. So I didn't even fully finish the second year for honours. I'm doing a minor in international relations in the first semester of the third year. And from then on, I'll see. I will have to do my thesis, so I’m curious what that is going to bring.

2. Why did you choose the Honours College?

Initially, so on every open day of the University, they mentioned it in every presentation. So, I knew about it already quite early. Then I started my first year and I really liked my regular program, but there was honestly quite a lot of time left. Besides my study time, I had all my sports and my social things but I still had quite a lot of time left and then, I searched what was this honours thing about. I found out that the application period was only in March or something. I was like I will just give it a shot and see if I can have that on the side, because it looks like great fun and an actual little challenge.

3. Has the Honours College met your expectations so far?

Yeah. I mean, obviously! It's been weird with everything being online because the whole community sense, I think, otherwise it would have been stronger. But in terms of the courses, yes it's extra work, but it's also fun in my opinion. I don't mind it at all. Just during exams, it gets a little tricky. But it definitely lived up to my expectations!

4. Do you have any kind of advice for students who would consider joining the Honours programme

Well, first of all, I really hope that students will join next year. We'll have in person education again. So because of the whole online situation, I've definitely had more than enough time to spend on the honours stuff. But honestly, I'd just say, don't hesitate too much about joining everybody, you can do it! And from my experience, if you're a student at the University of Groningen, then you're most likely able to do the honours courses as well. And then it's just a little bit of planning but honestly, it’s very doable in my opinion. So I would advise you to just go ahead and try to get in!

5. What summer school are you doing and why did you choose it?

So there is one course in the second year of the honours program that has a mandatory summer school attached to it, and there's a whole list of courses and topics to choose from. I'm currently in the course called ‘From Small to Large Life'. It's a combination of physics, chemistry, biology, and all sorts of things together, which is completely different from what I do. I'm in the Faculty of Arts, so it's completely off. For summer school, we were supposed to go to Switzerland. Unfortunately, that didn't happen this year because of the COVID-19 travel restrictions. From what I understand, it's just a week of classes and lectures from the people working at the organization that you're visiting. But also, I think we have to give a workshop ourselves. It’s bunch of activities in one week during the summer holiday. Then I think it continues in a third year as well with some other assignments. But I’m not too sure what that's going to look like yet.

6. Is there something you learned during honours that have a significant influence on how you look at your own studies?

Oh, that's a good question. Well, I think the most prominent one is that to almost anything, to any topic, there's a whole lot more to it than what you may think from your own field of study. And I think that's the most fun thing about the honours program. You encounter and interact with people from different backgrounds and across disciplines. Very regularly, when you're discussing something in class and you think you understand what's going on, and you probably do, but then there's somebody from a completely different field than you who makes a comment about the same topic and you're like wait, is that true? Is that correct? Most of the time the teacher agrees that you can also look at it from that perspective.

7. What was your favourite course and what was the main insight you gained from it?

I think it's called ‘Causes of Conflict and Proposals for Peace’. It was an international relations course, I think that's also the one that sparked my interest. I already had in my mind to do something like that for my minor but this course definitely helped me with deciding on an international relations minor. It had a great teacher, and it was really interesting. Actually, I took it at the beginning of the second year and so, we had a few in-person lectures for that. Maybe that helped with putting it up to my ranking? About key insights, we were asked to choose a conflict and analyze it. The key realization was that International conflicts are really complicated and that there's a lot to it and it is very deep, and there are many parties involved that you may not think of in the first place.

8. What do you like to do outside your studies? What’s your passion?

I grew up in a community where my friends and I were all big football nerds. I guess that's a very common topic of conversation. I like sports a lot, and I always used to play throughout my youth. I played tennis and football most prominently but also tried all sorts of other things. In Groningen, I am actually a member of the Ice Skating Club. Also, it’s kind of basic, but meeting up with friends in the city or going to people's places and hanging out together and, of course, Groningen is a great place for that with I think around 30,000 students living in the city. So yeah, plenty to do. With my program, so the communication studies, you start to look at the way people interact and unconsciously you start analyzing things that you see around you and it's kind of annoying sometimes. But sometimes it's fun. I've been pointing things out quite often to my friends and my family like, hey, did you see that? Did you notice this? I think it's also a sign that I'm learning something in my program, you know?

9. Is there something you would like to add?

Two main things. Firstly, I think I would like to address my fellow second-year honour students, in saying that, it's been a shame that we haven't really met. I'm very happy to actually start meeting you next year. I'm really excited about that! And for the upcoming honours students, even during online covid-19 classes, it's been a lot of fun actually and it's been a very nice variation from the regular program. It's really nice to get your head off of things. Plus there's a lot of freedom in the courses that we're allowed to choose from. So if there's anybody having doubts about joining the Honours College, I would say to them that it is worth it, and that you should really try. It's not me being sponsored or pressured by the University and the Honours College to say this, this is what I really think and from what I've heard from other students.

Last modified:30 November 2022 6.34 p.m.